All four rookies assigned to cars this month - Conor Daly, AJ Allmendinger, Carlos Munoz and Tristan Vautier - have completed ROP. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch also completed ROP on Thursday, May 9.
INDIANAPOLIS (Tuesday, May 14, 2013) - The weather got warmer at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but the results at the top of the time sheets remained the same as Andretti Autosport continued to dominate preparations for the 97th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
Hinchcliffe, a two-time race winner this season, logged 26 laps in No. 25 entry, while Andretti recorded 22 laps in Hinchcliffe's No. 27 GoDaddy.com car.
"Marco's pretty upset with the fact I got the fastest lap in his car," Hinchcliffe joked.
Andretti, back in his own Chevrolet-powered car, was third-quick overall (223.570 mph). A day earlier, he posted the top speed of on-track activity (225.100 mph).
JR Hildebrand was second in the No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing car (223.652) - the second consecutive day he's been in the top five under divergent weather/track conditions. Also I the top five again was three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Helio Castroneves, who had a best lap of 223.556 mph in the No. 3 Shell V-Power/Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske car. Reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay was fifth (223.332) in the No. 1 DHL car for Andretti Autosport.
In all, 34 driver/car combinations recorded a month-high 2,226 laps without incident on the 2.5-mile oval.
Conor Daly completed the final phase of the Rookie Orientation Program during the final minutes of practice Monday. He had finished the first two phases Monday morning.
Daly missed ROP on Saturday and Sunday because he was competing in GP3 races in Barcelona, Spain.
All four rookies assigned to cars this month - Daly, AJ Allmendinger, Carlos Munoz and Tristan Vautier - have completed ROP. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch also completed ROP on Thursday, May 9.
INDIANAPOLIS 500 PRACTICE QUOTES:
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "We put in another steady day of work on the Verizon Chevrolet. We feel as though we are making progress on our setup. It was a good day at the office and definitely a beautiful day here at Indy. Hopefully we get more of the same tomorrow."
GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15T Midas/Big O Tires Honda): "Everything went to plan today. Our focus today was just to mileage this engine out and move on. I'm proud of the guys at Honda that we made it there without issue. We're focused on tomorrow now to see what we get. We're going to shake down the new car tomorrow with a new engine in it. It might be a whole different beast. The Midas/Big O Tires car will be all new, and I'm excited about it."
JAMES JAKES (No. 16T Acorn Stairlifts Honda): "We did another race simulation early in the day, and I think we made some progress compared to Monday on the Acorn Stairlifts car. Everyone seems pretty excited. And the rest of the afternoon, the guys were busy putting a new engine and switching everything to the other chassis. It was nice that we were able to get the work done well over the last two days so the guys have got quite a bit of time to work on the car today, and it means they won't get to bed too late tonight and will be able to spend some time with their wives and children. Everyone's pretty excited to roll out tomorrow. Both the No. 15 and 16 cars will be fresh chassis and motors, so I think everyone is optimistic and excited as to where we will end up."
ORIOL SERVIA (No. 22 Panther DRR Chevrolet): "It's starting to get interesting out there. The track was very hot, up to 130 degrees at some points. It makes things a lot more difficult, but that's how race conditions are going to be. We lose a lot of downforce when it gets hot like this, and it just gets tougher to get a good setup. It still was a great day. We were running in the top five most of the day, so I'm very pleased. Third day of running for us, and we have excellent notes. I'm very happy with where we are."
AJ ALLMENDINGER (No. 2 IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet): "Today was the first day it has been warm outside, which was something I had not experienced yet. The track changed throughout the day, getting slicker than it's been on the cooler days, but we were able to make adjustments to the IZOD Team Penske Chevrolet that helped us put down some pretty good laps. I was able to learn a lot with a lot of cars on the track today, which obviously critical for me as we get close to the race. Productive day, in all, but I still have a lot to learn."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Shell V-Power/Pennzoil Ultra Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was another good day today for the Shell V-Power Pennzoil Ultra Chevrolet. We feel we've identified the places where we can improve and so now we have to continue working. Finishing near the top yesterday and today shows we hopefully have the consistency that it takes to win the race in the end."
E.J. VISO (No. 5 Team Venezuela/Andretti Autosport/HVM Chevrolet): "Very long day for me today; I completed 134 laps; it's enough to get the engine swapped. Anyways, it was a very good, productive day. We went through some tests, which we found some good answers. We did a couple of long runs with the rest of the Andretti Autosport guys, and we are still finding new answers every time we go on a run together. Today was a little bit hotter than the other days, and the weather predictions say that Race Day is going to be even a bit hotter than today. So I think the running that we did today was pretty productive to gather some data."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 RC Cola Chevrolet): "I think today went well. I'm quite pleased with how things are going for us so far. Working with the car in the heat of the day can be challenging, but we made a lot of progress to get where we are. We are going to continue to look at things and try to be faster by Race Day."
JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 21 Sarah Fisher Hartman/Century 21 Honda): "I thought we had another productive day. This is Day 4, and we got through another great set of changes. We made the car a little bit better, and we were able to run in some traffic today and get an idea of what the car is going to do behind other cars. I think we're on the right path, but we have to keep on it because there's still more for us to do. But we're definitely headed in the right direction."
TAKUMA SATO (No. 14 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "Unfortunately not a good day for us. We had a few problems to address, which took a long time to correct, and we didn't get much running in today. Hopefully tomorrow will be trouble-free."
MICHEL JOURDAIN JR. (No. 17 Office Depot Honda): "We continued to work on the car; I haven't been comfortable at all. I am kind of feeling the same as Graham (Rahal) in that we're not feeling confident in the car. We made some changes in the afternoon, and it was better, but still on the last run I had to catch it two times. It's better. I have a little bit better feel and a little bit more confidence in it, but we have to make some changes and improvements. Of course, the strong winds are not helping a lot, but there are some things that happen in all four corners, and normally the wind only makes an impact on one or two corners. We are going to continue to work on it to improve the car."
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 55 Lucas Oil/Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "This was our first day really working on the car since we didn't get to run a lot yesterday. We managed to run a lot more in traffic, although we didn't quite have the speed we needed. We struggled a bit following other cars, but we have more time to practice. I'm sure I need to get more used to this track as a rookie, as well."
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 Unistraw Chevrolet): "It was another good day of practicing a few different race simulations; I learned a lot on each of them. The conditions were hotter today then the last few practice sessions, so I had to adjust with each of the new tests. The track had a lot less grip, but that is something we need to keep working on in the upcoming days. There are still a lot of days left to figure out which run is going to work, but my team is working really hard to find the best one. I'm feeling more and more comfortable with the No. 26 Unistraw Chevy, and I think our team is doing a good job, but we need to take it day-by-day. Each time I go out on track I'm gaining more confidence, especially on the race runs with my teammates and other drivers."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Hamilton HP Motorsports Honda): "It was an OK day. The weather was kind enough to be similar to what it's going to be on Race Day, so we got to try a lot of things that should relate to the race. It was an interesting day because we got to try a lot of different items, and I can't wait to debrief with the HP crew to see how we'll tackle tomorrow. We have a decent car. We just need a small adjustment to make it just right for the race. I'm pretty sure we're going to get there."
RYAN BRISCOE (No. 8 NTT DATA Honda): "Today was a bit of a long day. We didn't do a whole lot of running as we spent a lot of time making some big changes in the garage. It was a lot hotter today. The wind was going in the opposite direction, so we were battling a little bit with some different balance issues than we had yesterday. The changes we made with the rest of the team cars helped lead us in the direction we went. We got back out tonight, ran a bit in traffic, felt like we made some good gains with the car and ended with some good, solid laps. So, we made progress."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen Honda): "Today was a good day. As far as weather conditions, it was the first time we really had warm on-track temperatures. A lot of times, Race Day temperatures are this warm and this windy, so we tried to do as much as we could with the No. 83 NovoLog FlexPen car in race trim. We ran with my teammates on full tanks and did a long run to see how the tires were holding up and see how the car was going to do. We did a few hot stops and pit stops with launches to get the guys warmed up. Everything feels really good. Toward the end of the afternoon, we thought we may have lost it a little bit, but we made some changes and put the car right back in the ballpark, so everything is good. It's just a question of what the weather does toward the end of this week and make sure we can keep it in that range and make sure we can be competitive as we trim it out for qualifying."
RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 1 DHL Chevrolet): "It's certainly getting interesting now with the heat and the wind. Conditions are changing every day, so it's keeping the team on our toes, and we're just trying a lot of different settings now. We have five cars, so we have a lot of options, and I think as we work through the week, we'll work ourselves into a good car. But it's a work in progress."
JR HILDEBRAND (No. 4 National Guard Panther Racing Chevrolet): "With the qualifying situation and the added boost for Friday and Saturday, you see a lot of race running these first few days. Besides trying to make the No. 4 National Guard car better and head into Thursday and Friday with some idea of what's going to happen when you qualify, we spent the entire day running around in some form of traffic. We weren't trying to put big laps up. We're trying to understand how the car works behind one car, two cars, three cars, four cars, different speed of cars. It was nice at the end of the day to join the Andretti tow battle that was going on. At the end of the day, you want to figure out how your car is going to work with other cars that you might be able to race with. That's where the speed comes from, and that's where the focus is going to be today and tomorrow."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "Our plan was to do somewhere in the region of 140 laps today to mileage out the engine like the No. 9 team did, so we could have the qualifying engine in for tomorrow. Unfortunately, the engine let go before we were able to do that, and we lost a lot of time on track. It was disappointing, but the balance of the car is very good, and we felt we had a really good car in traffic today, which will be important for the race. Hopefully Honda are going to bring a big upgrade for qualifying and the race engines."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Honda): "We had a very positive day today even though the speed chart doesn't show it. We mileaged our engine out, which means we ran it to its limit of 2,000 miles. That is significant because we will have a fresh Honda engine in tomorrow, which will move us up the speed chart. You only have a certain amount of engines per season for cost containment, so that is why we were where we were today. We changed suspension geometries, as well, and we discovered a part was wrong, so we got that corrected today, as well. After we fixed that, the car was back to normal, and we found some great options for the rear of the car. Because we had to mileage the engine out, we turned the power down just to make sure we made that 2,000-mile distance. Tomorrow will be a good test of where we stand speed-wise."
CONOR DALY (No. 41 ABC Supply Co./A.J. Foyt Racing Honda): "Today was good. We upped our personal-best speed. We also made some setup changes so that I could feel what it did to the car. At the end, I got to run with Bia (Ana Beatriz) and feel what that was like to run close to a car. Slowly but surely gaining experience."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 GoDaddy Chevrolet): "Marco (Andretti) is pretty angry with me now. Not only did I rock a big tow, which he is famous for, but I did it in his car, so "Marco Tow-dretti" is pretty upset with me now. It's good to be up there, but at the end of the day, those numbers don't mean a lot right now. It's about the work you do on the race car and making sure the No. 27 GoDaddy car is going to be good not only on one lap, but over 200 (laps)." (About benefit of driving a teammate's car): "I get to see how good I look in red and blue. There are some things we wanted to see and suss out, and that's the way to do it. It's not uncommon. Guys have done it in the past -- especially this team. I think TK (Tony Kanaan) drove every single car on the team at some point during the month. It's standard procedure to feel a couple of things out."
TOWNSEND BELL (No. 60 Sunoco "Turbo" Panther Racing Chevrolet): "It's just great to be back out here with Panther Racing. We've got so much support from Sunoco and 'Turbo,' and they've all given me a great opportunity to be in good equipment. I was in Laguna Seca this weekend, and the Panther guys handled every little detail so we were ready to roll when I got back. In a lot of ways, it was like I never left. It's still John Barnes running the organization, and they still have a lot of great people. I just love coming (to Indianapolis), and luckily this is my seventh time and it starts to feel pretty normal after a while. Although the first outing I don't think I took a breath for a good three-and-a-half minutes, but the car feels really good so far."